WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden mounted two previous presidential bids in 1988 and 2008, never making it out of the Democratic primaries.
In 2020, the third time’s the charm.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., listens during his stop at Flat Rock Community High School in Flat Rock, Mich., Monday, Sept. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) Presidential hopeful Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., gestures during a speech to students on the University of Iowa campus, April 13, 1987, Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Rodney White) Vice President Joe Biden greets Lawrence Smith, 8, and Madison King, 9, both of Van Buren Township, Mich., during a campaign stop at Renaissance High School, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) President Barack Obama presents Vice President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during a ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., rests his head on the shoulder of his wife, Jill, as they stand in a hallway awaiting his introduction for a rally at the UAW Hall in Dubuque, Iowa, on the day of the Iowa caucus Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Mark Hirsch) Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., waves to the crowed as he prepares to address the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia) Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tosses his jacket off stage as he begins to speak during a rally at the Teamster Local 249 Hall in Pittsburgh, Monday, April 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., shakes hands with democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., at a rally in the rain at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., left, and other family members watch Biden’s grandson Hunter wave from the stage at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., pass each other as Harris moves to the podium to speak during a campaign event at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) President Barack Obama walks with Vice President Joe Biden back to the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, June 25, 2015, after speaking in the Rose Garden. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Vice President-elect Joe Biden, with his wife Jill at his side, takes the oath of office from Justice John Paul Stevens, as his wife holds the Bible at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., Chairman of the U.S Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, waves as he talks to Afghan children during a visit to the Ariana primary school in Kabul, Jan. 12, 2002. Biden was on a two-day visit to the Afghan capital. (AP Photo/Enric Marti) Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., holds his daughter Ashley while taking a mock oath of office from Vice President George Bush during a ceremony on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan. 3, 1985. Biden’s sons Beau and Hunter hold the bible during the ceremony. (AP Photo/Lana Harris) Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. mingles with passengers on the Amtrak Acela train from Washington to Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Leaders from Latin America and Europe talk before posing for the official photo of the Progressive Governance Leaders Summit in Vina del Mar, Chile, March 28, 2009. Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, from left, Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Uruguay’s President Tabare Vazquez. (AP Photo/Roberto Candia) Vice President Joe Biden dances with his wife Jill at the Commander In Chief Ball on inauguration night in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) In this image released by the White House and digitally altered by the source to diffuse the paper in front of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with with members of the national security team, receive an update on the mission against Osama bin Laden in the Situation Room of the White House, Sunday, May 1, 2011, in Washington. (Pete Souza/The White House via AP) Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by his family, holds his hand over his heart as he watches an honor guard carry a casket containing the remains of his son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, into St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, Del., June 6, 2015, for funeral services. Standing alongside the vice president are Beau’s widow Hallie Biden, left, and daughter, Natalie. Beau Biden died of brain cancer May 30 at age 46. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Standing amid members of the Euclid High School marching Band, Vice-President Joe Biden whistles to get someone’s attention following a campaign stop at a fire station in Euclid, Ohio, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden has been a fixture in Democratic national politics since he won an upstart campaign to become a U.S. senator from Delaware in 1972. He would chair multiple Senate committees and serve in the Senate until 2009, when he became vice president alongside President Barack Obama.
Biden represented the country at international summits, and was among those in the Situation Room the night that Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden. In November 2012, he and Obama celebrated their reelection in Chicago as red, white and blue confetti rained down.
Nearly one-half of Biden’s life has played out in the public eye. That has included moments of tragedy, such as the early deaths of his first wife and infant daughter in a car crash, and later the death of his elder son from cancer. There have also been highs, such as when Obama surprised him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2017.
Biden emerged this spring as the Democratic presidential nominee from a field of about two-dozen candidates including political veterans and rising young stars. He then tapped one of them, California Sen. Kamala Harris, as his running mate, and the two slogged through the marathon of a presidential race complicated by social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
With Obama, Biden was part of a historic ticket that gave the country its first African American president. In choosing Harris as his own running mate, he enabled the breaking of another barrier — the first Black woman to be elected vice president in America.